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  • Entertainment

TRAVEL: Winter in amazing Armagh

Saturday, 18th November, 2017 10:00am
TRAVEL: Winter in amazing Armagh

The Winter Solstice at Navan is an amazing experience.

TRAVEL: Winter in amazing Armagh

The Winter Solstice at Navan is an amazing experience.

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THE county of Armagh has a warm welcome in store for visitors looking for a worthwhile getaway during the cold winter weather.

In fact the region has a packed schedule of unique events taking place that should satisfy all interests and ages.

The highlight will no doubt be the wonderful three-day Georgian Festival at the end of November, when visitors can uncover the secrets of Ireland’s oldest city with walking tours and carriage rides around Armagh’s Georgian streetscape.

And on Friday, November 24, the landmark Great Georgian Banquet returns to provide an unforgettable experience of gastronomy and entertainment in the lavish surroundings of the Archbishop’s Palace. 

‘Georgian Day’ itself on Saturday, November 25, will have over 100 merchants and stalls lining the streets with artisan produce and crafted goods including a food village, while the local Courthouse will open for hilarious mock trials and tours.

The day culminates in the unmissable spectacle of the annual animated light show ‘Five Gold Rings!’

Together with a series of lectures, presentations and discussions around the importance of Armagh the festival presents the Georgian Hidden Gems tour, providing access and a tour of two fine private Georgian residences inclusive of lunch. 

Art fans should not miss the opportunity to visit the Margaret Clarke exhibition at the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge during a visit to Armagh.

‘Margaret Clarke: An Independent Spirit’ showcases the work of one of Northern Ireland’s most talented artists.

Direct from the National Gallery of Ireland, this exhibition of stunning selection of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and archived material is less than 90 minutes from Dublin along the N1 corridor.

Throughout the month of November the city of Armagh offers a wealth of engaging and thought-provoking events. 

A celebration of traditional music and modern melodies will fill the air during the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh this week as this prestigious four-day event returns to the city.

The festival embodies the merging of different backgrounds in celebration of time honoured musical talents and instruments.

From Thursday, November 16 to Sunday, November 19, visitors can enjoy the distinctive sounds of the Uilleann pipes, traditional bagpipes and a new addition of leading French pipers travelling to be a part of the festivities.

For a Christmas family treat, step back in time at Navan Centre & Fort at 8am on Thursday, December 21, to welcome the arrival of the Winter Solstice, much as the ancient Celts would have in bygone times.

Traditional customs and ceremonies will be re-enacted before a lantern-lit walk to Navan Fort to celebrate the breaking of the dawn. Breakfast can be provided and advance booking is required.

For information on these events and the full range of happenings taking place in the area, go to www.visitarmagh.com.

THINGS TO DO

1. Fanatical about Food? Crazy about craft brewing?

Hand-pick Armagh brambly apples and experience the sights, sounds and unmistakable aromas of Armagh Cider Company as apples are loaded into crates and brought to the cidery for immediate pressing.

2. Heard about the new 77 metre long linen tapestry that weaves the story of seasons 1-6 of hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones?

Thomas Ferguson’s Linen Factory was responsible for this gigantic piece of medieval linen and you can take an enthralling factory tour.

Visit the last maker of quality Irish damask linen, a product coveted by royalty, opera and ballet companies and leading fashion designers!

3. The 24th William Kennedy Piping Festival takes place from November 16-19 at various locations across Armagh city centre.

Highlights include ‘Sounds & Tastes Of France’, a Piping extravaganza on multiple stages at Armagh City Hotel, and presentations of piping traditions, concerts, sessions, workshops, lectures and family events with global artists including Danu, Robbie Hannon, Jarlath Henderson and Niall Vallely.

4. Have a belly-laugh with award-winning comedians Reginald D Hunter or David O’Doherty [‘Live At The Apollo’ ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown’] at The Market Place Theatre.

Then sit by the fireside at one of Armagh’s charming and welcoming bars and be bowled over by local artisan ciders so crisp they will make your mouth pucker!

5. Traditional music, song, verse and stories are held on the first Saturday of every month in Tossey’s Cottage. Tossey’s is a traditional Irish cottage dating back to the 1600’s.  With jamb wall, turf fire fanned by bellows it is an ideal setting for uplifting and rousing sessions where all visitors are warmly welcomed. It really is one of Ulster’s hidden secrets.

6. Horse-drawn carriage rides around The Mall in Armagh are a wonderful way to behold the beauty of Armagh City’s distinctive Georgian architecture on Saturday, November 25.

Sit back and enjoy a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride around the iconic tree-lined Georgian Mall, in a stylish coach operated by Georgian gentry. 

Carriage rides depart from outside the Fusiliers Museum on Mall East. The trip lasts approximately 8-10 minutes.Warm clothing advised!

The Georgian Festival at the end of November uncovers the secrets of Ireland’s oldest city. The 24th William Kennedy Piping Festival takes place from November 16-19  in various locations across Armagh city centre.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here